Govt against allocation of ‘sensitive’ domain names

The government has raised objections to the allocation of what it considers "sensitive" domain names to private entities by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the US-based international body responsible for granting top-level domain names.

New Delhi has opposed domain names like '.ram', '.islam' and '.bible', which were in demand with some private companies. It has argued that the names are religious in nature and might impact the social fabric of the country.

In a meeting of the Government Advisory Council (GAC) held in Durban on July 17, the Ministry of External Affairs raised the issue in consultation with the home and IT ministries. Sources said India has submitted objections for these domain names. "We are aware of certain sensitive domain names, and are acting accordingly to stop their misuse," a government source said.

Automobile company Chrysler wanted '.ram' as a domain name as it has a range of pick-up trucks with the name. "Ram is a deity worshipped in India as a Hindu god. The Indian Trade Marks Act Section 9(2) clearly mentions that a mark shall not be registered if it contains or comprises any matter likely to hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India. The domain name should be set aside by ICANN," said the note by New Delhi.

Since a Turkish company, Asia Green IT System, wanted '.islam' as a domain name, the Indian objection note again cited the Trade Marks Act. "The word Islam is closely associated with the sentiments of millions of Muslims residing in India," it said. A similar objection was made to the American Bible Society's application for '.bible'.

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